Exploring US Energy Policy: A State-by-State Analysis of Green vs Nonrenewable Resources

Hello there, fellow solar explorer! Today, I’ve got some insightful content for you. I’ll be sharing some pretty intriguing data on the state of energy democracy and accountability across different states. (Spoiler alert: There’s room for improvement.)

Recently, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) published its 2024 Community Power Scorecard. This scorecard gives a pretty harsh assessment of energy policies across the fifty states, and let’s just say not many have scored highly. Out of all, Illinois was the lone star with an above-average B, while eleven others managed a decent C. Unfortunately, 26 states completely failed their report card.

As a solar expert, I earnestly believe in the potential of our sunny friend not just as a green power source, but as a means of empowering local communities and contributing to a better, more equitable system. And that’s exactly what ILSR’s evaluation revolves around. They assess how state policies influence local clean energy like the solar panels for your home and rate them for it.

One of the main aspects of the study was the net metering policy. It’s an essential factor when considering a solar array for home use. Essentially, it allows energy that homeowners generate from their panels (but don’t consume) to be fed back to the grid. The states got a maximum of 10 points in this. Several states, including Arkansas, Colorado, and of course, Illinois, all scored a full 10, while Georgia and Alabama fell short with zeros.

A popular and affordable alternative to setting up one’s own personal solar installation is community solar. Commendably, ILSR has also included the state-level community solar policies in their evaluation. This is a great way to be part of the solar movement if financial restraints or a lack of suitable rooftops stand in your way. Through community solar, sharing electricity generated by a single solar facility becomes a reality. A state can score up to 13 points for its community solar policy.

But there’s more! Other policy areas looked at in ILSR’s report include third-party ownership, interconnection, hosting capacity analysis, community choice energy, franchise authority, and renewable portfolio standards, among others.

Sadly though, the overall picture from the scorecard suggests that we have a long way to go. Shared local authority and checks on utilities are essential for a future clean, solar-driven economy. Yet, with just one state passing the test with flying colors, it’s clear that our policies need severe revamping.

As numerous solar companies continue to innovate and provide affordable and efficient options, it’s time for policies to step up too. State policy improvement is crucial for solar companies to thrive, and for a wider segment of the public to enjoy the benefits of clean, green, solar energy.

Solar power is the key to unlocking a brighter, more sustainable future. And while this report may paint a dismal picture, it also presents us with a clear direction. The potential for improvement is immense, and this is the challenge (and the opportunity) that lies before us.

Until next time, stay sunny, folks!

Original Articlehttps://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/03/22/u-s-states-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do-on-energy-policy/

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